RFID: Ecommerce’s Future
At the intersection of merchandising and technology sits an acronym for the ages. “RFID,” or Radio Frequency Identification. It’s the culmination of 20th century panic frenzy among citizens terrified of Big Brother and micro-chipping. It’s an intrusive, anti-individualistic form of cataloging. But in the business world, it’s something different: a life-saver.
RFID’s early commercial applications centered around the supply chain, in a B2B mode. Checking in stock, tracking its movement between warehouses, and processing returned merchandise — these were all improved immeasurably by the chip technology.
Think of RFID as a wireless data capture accomplished through tags known as transponders. Eliminating the need for bulky equipment to “read” this data, the software associated with RFID handles that bulk communication.
But now the RFID picture has expanded, and there are great benefits in store for ecommerce figures. Macy’s discovered those as it evolved from a straight brick-and-mortar biz to an enviable online retailer. RFID tracking was so successful there, it resulted in a 200 percent surge in their fashion sales. Not too shabby.
Sweetening the pot is a predictable drop in costs associated with RFID chips. Over the last 13 years, its prices have sunk 90 percent. With this incentive, the question becomes obvious: why not automate?
The ability to track inventory online and off-line is a huge plus. Radiant RFID offers an impressive array of programs to inspect. Using the moniker “asset-tracking,” it positions itself on the cutting edge of RFID technology for a wide spectrum of business sectors.
Macy’s and other vendors have discovered the most valuable aspect of RFID technology in its accuracy. For ecommerce players, maintaining a true picture of available product is as important as avoiding shipping out the wrong thing.
The beauty of this symbiotic relationship between RFID and ecommerce? Its customization potential that allows for tailored reporting that skips unrelated data and zeroes in on the areas of business you want to examine.
RFID is in an ingénue phase with respect to ecommerce at this point. Traditional retailers consider it a tool in the battle to keep up with their internet competitors. That can only mean one thing for online merchants: it’s something to watch.
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